Sunday, October 7, 2012

inciting insight

I used to want to be a psychologist. My 9th grade me, in a "Labor Day 2000" essay I vividly remember crafting (mainly because I had specific visions of my grown-up wardrobe), saw this careerwoman of the future as a jet-setting, brown leather boots- & tweed skirt-wearing young mother of 2 traveling from Seattle to New York City for a National Psychologists of the World meeting (I don't think that even exists). All I knew was that I could see behind every teen magazine advertiser's attempts to get my hard-earned babysitting dollars, and I could overanalyze conversations with boys to decipher real meanings ("You're really funny" = "We should always be just friends" and "You're really smart" = "Please do my homework while I talk to this other girl").

That and wearing stylish clothes I could finally afford were all I really knew about being a psychologist; the minute I found out there would be SCIENCE CLASSES involved, I was out. Though in my teaching job, where I do get to wear stylish clothes [my Mechanical Engineer husband can afford], I do use those critical thinking & listening skills I developed back in high school, as well as questioning & observation. Every day.

But not with myself.

Anytime people recommended I see a counselor, I punched them in the neck felt tense. I always thought two things: First, counselors are a good idea for some people. Second, I am not some people because I know exactly what my issues are and amdealingwiththemjustfinethankyouverymuch.

But knowing one's issues and actually addressing them are very different things.  I finally decided to see a counselor after frantically texting my husband on the way to work about our need for my salary; I was hyperventilating about the last few weeks of school and could not convince myself that I was doing a good enough job at teaching + parenting + volunteering + friending + wifing.

Talking to a paid someone about my issues has been more than just terrifying (one significant issue is control & not liking surprises), it has been immensely helpful in relieving my crowded, spastic brain. The most interesting revelation is how unkindly I tend to talk to myself; I have actually thought kinder things about serial killers. I am learning to be gentler with myself, which is a little weird because it is essentially having arguments inside my head - admonishing the sardonic Me (who is responsible for many of my more hilarious Facebook posts, frankly) while soothing the belittled Me, without becoming a maudlin Oxygen Channel feature. I think we're doing alright so far.


All of this is to say: I want to write more here, more relevant & interesting & funny & possibly useful things; I also want to be present with my family, teach well, enjoy the company of friends, and indulge in a few shenanigans now & again. So here's hoping I can keep Me and Me working well together. I appreciate your support, People Who Like Me.

6 comments:

Bearden 365 said...

You have no idea how often I do that Stuart Smalley bit (albeit WITHOUT the stylish wardrobe or jetsetting you spoke of my type of job including!) and no one ever knows what I am talking about! How tickled I am to see you refer to it, but not surprised because that is why we're friends, true? ;o)

Mrs. G. said...

Consider me in the I Like You category.

Write some good things about yourself on a post it and stick it in your pocket. When you find yourself thinking negatively of yourself, take it out and read it until you get your thinking back on track. Works for me.

Jenn @ You know... that blog? said...

I adore you, issues and all - always have, always will!

The same cannot be said of your captcha script, which my old eyes have quite a time with.

'Nuff said. ;)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Thought I haven't done therapy myself, my husband and I both agree that the dialectical behavioral therapy we went to as part of our daughter's treatment for her anorexia was amazing and life-altering.

Good luck!

PFisher said...

Count me in the I Like You group please!

Janet said...

I never cared for therapy ... although if my parents hadn't sent me, I'd've never met Dave :-) I went to grief therapy after Mom passed away and basically the only thing I remember about it is she told me I should watch that tv show where they tell you what to wear and what clothes to toss.

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